Canada’s #9 Coolest City: Gatineau, Québec

Offers more than just a good view of the Parliament Buildings.

In addition to high provincial funding for child-care and low child-injury hospitalization rates, Gatineau also had a strong housing vs. income ranking. It’s overall bottom three ranking in diversity, life expectancy and the performing arts prevented an even higher finish.

Family profile Trisha Skoryk, a trade commissioner, and five-year-old twins, Lyvia and Willow.

What Trisha loves about Gatineau Since we’re next to Ottawa, we enjoy an international big-city feeling with all the benefits of a small city. Plus, lots of great artisan, Québécois-hippie neighbourhoods, such as Lac des Fées, Chelsea and Wakefield. After I left the West Coast, I didn’t know if I would be able to find a socially aware place to raise my kids that promotes respect for others and the environment. It was a great surprise to find that in Gatineau. And you can’t beat the affordable real estate (cute three-bedrooms for $150,000) and province-wide, $7-a-day childcare.

What Lyvia and Willow love Riding “Candy” the horse at Blais André ranch (4801 Hwy. 309 L’Ange Gardien) just 15 minutes from our home, as well as the RCMP’s entertaining drills, also known as the Musical Ride (rcmp-grc.gc.ca). Also, fishing in a small creek called Ruisseau de la Brasserie.

Favourite stores and restos Dépanneur Sylvestre (culturequebec.info/depanneursylvestre) is a very cool, socially responsible cooperative and meeting place that features art, music, healthy eating tutorials and more! It’s basically the corner store ready to take on the challenges of the world. And the girls adore Fathi, who serves up the best shawarma in the national capital region at Marroush Shawarma Int. (309 boul. Saint-Joseph.)

A perfect family day in Gatineau Would start with fruit smoothies for breakfast at Café Gaia (47A Blvd. Montclair). Then we’re off to the Chelsea Community Centre for the kids yoga class. While they are in downward dog, I stroll through Old Chelsea village enjoying the artisans’ shops and sip a coffee at Les Saisons (232 Chemin Old Chelsea). Afterwards, we go downstairs in the Community Centre to the Toy Library, where kids can take out and return toys just like library books. Then we head to the beach at Meech Lake (33 Scott Rd., Chelsea). We spend the afternoon swimming and relaxing – enjoying Gatineau Park! After grabbing some shawarma for dinner, we go down to Lac Leamy to get a great spot on the lawn and wait for the fireworks!

 

TOP TEN CITIES

  1. Québec City
  2. Montréal
  3. Vancouver
  4. Vaughan, Ontario
  5. Richmond Hill, Ontario
  6. Toronto
  7. Markham
  8. St. John’s, Newfoundland
  9. Gatineau, Québec
  10. Calgary

 

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